PHILADELPHIA (KDKA) – President Donald Trump sat down with undecided voters at a town hall event in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
The mix of voters, including some from the Pittsburgh area, asked the president some tough questions.
One of those questions came from a local student, asking why he downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus earlier this year – a claim coming from author Bob Woodward, who says those comments were made by the president in recorded interviews earlier this year for his new book, “Rage.”
“Why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?” Asked Ajani Powell.
“Well, I didn’t downplay it,” President Trump responded. “I actually, in many ways, I up played it in terms of action. My action was very strong because what I did was with China, I put a ban on with Europe, I put a ban on, and we would have lost thousands of more people had I not put the ban on. So that was called action, not with the mouth, but in actual fact, we did a very, very good job.”
The government’s response to the pandemic was not the only controversial claim the president denied during ABC’s town hall hosted by George Stepahnoplous, another voter asked about a report in The Atlantic, claiming he called U.S. soldiers killed in battle “suckers” and “losers.”
“Easy, because I never made those statements,” President Trump said. “They were never made by me. They said I stood over the grave of soldiers killed many years ago, and I said they were suckers. I never made that – you know we’ve had 26 people as of today come out to say it never happened and many people were there.”
Challenging President Trump for the White House is former Vice President Joe Biden. ABC News said it reached out to his campaign to schedule a town hall but was unable to find a date.
Biden didn’t have much to say about the president’s town hall event, except for one tweet.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 16, 2020
The tweet references President Trump’s comment that Biden did not follow through on a national mask mandate he called for during the Democratic National Convention.
In part, Biden said, “To be clear, I am not currently the president.”